1950s print designer Jacqueline Groag dresses DAM Spun exhibition

Hi, I’m D’Lea. Also known as Dianne Denholm. My late and very great, creative Dad gave me this middle name. It’s been a fun name to have.

D’Leas, the store, was a very fun place to experience (between 1986-2006) and daily I hear how many people miss it still today. Flair. Color. Inspiration. Friendly Creativity. Quality mixed with joy. Beauty mixed with possibility. Rare combinations. Unique colors. Not so typical fabrics. Personality buttons. Success patterns to sew and wear. Hundreds of classes, national speakers and national notoriety were enjoyed by Denver’s “best little fabric store of the West!”

New city parking restrictions were the reason I had to close the store and I was not ready to stop my work supporting sewing enthusiasts. Remembering that my store was reminiscent of the fabulous Textile Center in Minneapolis led me to a 7 year adventure founding the closest possible model in Denver for the Rocky Mountain region. TACtile Textile Arts Center, a non-profit, was born and thrived for 5 years with my vision and direction. I am extremely proud of the multiple and stellar fiber arts exhibitions I curated, the synergy  accomplished with multiple fiber arts organizations who met there monthly and the public arts funding I helped to secure. I resigned in the fall of 2012 because of a very shocking and inadequate change of leadership. The mission, vision and integrity has since reduced dramatically. Enough said. Sadly, TACtile announced its closing in early 2015.

P1030783The last 3 years I enjoyed getting back to my retail genes, working for the Denver Art Museum and Denver Botanic Gardens Gift Shops. Both places kept me in touch with my large following of devoted friends and customers over all the years. I also volunteered as a consultant  for the esteemed Textile Arts Curator of the Denver Art Museum, Dr. Alice Zrebiec, during the most spectacular textile arts exhibition SPUN Adventures in Textiles.  It was the largest campus wide exhibit ever done at the DAM to date, honoring the $3 million expansion of the Textile department with textile themed exhibits from every curator. The Botanic Gardens also celebrated their largest exhibit while I was there, that of Dale Chihuly Glass in the Gardens. I enjoyed immense growth in my art and nature sensibilities during these experiences…..and a growing desire to write and share my unique reflections.

Currently, I am engaged once again in retail fashion, fabrics and design at Denver’s exclusive women’s clothier boutique, Molly’s of Denver…a rare jewel of a specialty shop with service beyond your possible imagination in this day and age! Buy the best fabrics and well fitting clothes so you can spend the rest of your time sewing and creating your art, knowing you look and feel your best!

Celebrating a lifetime of nut crazy passion for sewing and unusual fabrics, I transition my little business of D’Leas from brick and mortar traditions to the challenge of seeking touch and tangibility with 21st century digital means…no small feat. We crave touch yet see the current economic world taking it away from us. Let’s try to explore our mutual fascination for design, line, fabric and individual expression by connecting and feeling through our eyes, emotions, and words with a far greater celebration of global kindreds. I hope we learn being “in touch”  to be at least partially as satisfying as the real deal. Who knows, maybe the real deal will surprise us with new appearances. From the Individualist tab of the Vogue Pattern Book in the 1980’s to the Indie trends of now, let’s play together with words, thoughts, ideas and design via this portal of powerful potential.

My authentic self surely was the  buying and creating pretty displays of fabric, buttons and fashion art supplies at D’Leas and supporting and curating textile artisans at TACtile.  I love studying the trends and selecting pretty things to show to you. I love it when you like what I pick! I love working together with your imagination to create something wonderful to wear that is a one of a you-kind. I am also deeply committed to sustaining the textile arts as a healing, therapeutic benefit in women’s lives. I can’t stop doing these things…hence this latest adventure online.

20140214_160214More D’Leas Detail…
first opened in November 1986 as an artsy garden level boutique in Denver’s trendy Cherry Creek on 3rd Avenue. Soon after we grew to a larger second floor loft with dramatic large windows, displays & cabinets filled with art, color, fabrics and buttons. Then, a third location was a cozy, European style second floor Studio with latched windows for fresh air and bright sunshine. The nooks and corners and little rooms with creaky floors were home for 11 more years. In November 2005, D’Leas Studio flew away from Cherry Creek, took a little time off, now taking flight in a new adventure, this website boutique.

Now my Academy Awards speech. To inspire future boutique owners,  I would like to pay this special tribute to the people that contributed to D’Leas as a beloved community for customers and staff.

  • my age 11 inner self craving to stitch and design my clothes that still pulses      (i.e. recognizing my passion early)
  • my high school fashion design and illustration teachers who were young and hip and fresh out of design school      (luck)
  • my CSU degree in Fashion, my early buyer training with Macy’s      (education)
  • my mom for telling me about a buttons & ribbon store she figured I’d like      (luck)
  • trust from that store owner to let me do the fabric buying and hand made ads      (hard work)
  • my mom for helping me get my first loan to start a store      (love)
  • my family friend who, 2 years later, served as an angel investor, without whom D’Leas would never have taken flight (luck)
  • 1000’s of customers who made it fun to put fabrics on a shelf and buttons on a box front                                                                        (hard work, experience, built it, they came)
  • gorgeous women on my staff, whose creativity and endurance for teaching and selling beautiful things was truly inspiring       (nurture and respect)
  • my family of husband, sisters, mother, step-son, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. I have long teary, emotional speeches I could say about each of them. Just know I’d be in an asylum without these faithful people and D’Leas and TACtile would have been flat without them.     (tons of love)
  • women of the world who want to keep sewing in a world that says it is not necessary but we know it is      (heritage)
  • our young sisters for seeking the art, despite few early life encouragements to try it      (genetics & passion)